50 of the Most Dependable Web Resources for University Students

Published May 29, 2008

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Knowing where to turn for facts, handy web apps and other types of resources can make student life a lot easier. Read on for a list of 50 of the most useful and dependable online resources for college and university students.

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Research Resources

The Internet is a great place to find information and check facts--if you know where to go. Here are 25 web resources that are known for being consistent, accurate and reliable.

1. Library of Congress - The nation's oldest federal cultural institution is also the largest library in the world. Some of the resources available here include historical documents, manuscripts, artwork, maps, photos, letters and film.

2. U.S. Census Bureau - The U.S. Census Bureau American FactFinder is an incredibly useful tool--particularly if you are looking for population, housing, economic, and geographic data.

3. CIA Library - The Central Intelligence Agency has a library, an online directory of Chiefs of State and Cabinet Members of Foreign Governments, maps and a World Fact Book that offers information on countries all over the world.

4. STAT-USA - Part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, STAT-USA is an authoritative guide to business, trade, and economic information. You'll need to pay to use the service from home, but you can access it for free at any Federal Depository Library.

5. Bureau of Labor Statistics - The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics is an excellent source for information on inflation, wages, consumer spending, employment, demographics, business costs and much more.

6. RefDesk - A free and user-friendly website, RefDesk is the place to go when you need fast facts and essential reference tools. The site has encyclopedias, dictionaries, atlases, maps, calculators, converters, quotes, a fact checker and much more.

7. Virtual Reference Shelf - This site features select web resources compiled by the Library of Congress. The Virtual Reference Shelf includes links to encyclopedias, dictionaries, thesauri, almanacs, calendars, clocks, maps, consumer information, quotations and other high quality resources.

8. Classic Encyclopedia - This encyclopedia project from LoveToKnow.com is an on online reprinting of the renowned 1911 Edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, which is thought to be one of the best encyclopedias ever written.

9. Encyclopedia.com - This free online library hosts reference works, such as Oxford Dictionaries and the Britannica Concise Encyclopedia, as well as millions of magazine and newspaper articles. Encyclopedia.com's handy search tool makes it a cinch to find what you're looking for.

10. Bartleby - Bartleby is an online reference library publishing literature, poetry, reference books and much more. It is a good site for anyone wanting free and unlimited access to great books online.

11. Library Spot - Published by StartSpot Mediaworks, Library Spot is an award-winning website with some of the best library and reference resources on the web. Users can take advantage of a reading room, a virtual reference desk and superb search engines to find what they need.

12. Internet Public Library - The Internet Public Library, which is maintained by a consortium of universities and colleges, is flush with reference books, search tools, newspapers, magazines, and a number of other dependable resources. The site also features electronic versions of renowned literature and poetry.

13. The Wayback Machine - The Internet Archive's Wayback Machine lets users browse through billions of archived web pages. Although keyword searching is not available, you can type in exact web addresses to find what you're looking for.

14. Google Books - This beta tool from Google is a great way to locate books and research material on every subject imaginable. If you create a free account with Google Books, you get complete access to book excerpts, reviews, maps and other useful tools.

15. The Farmer's Almanac - The Original Farmer's Almanac is a classic resource for information on weather, gardening, astronomy and food. Other site features include a blog and a community forum.

16. Litsum - This site is the ultimate resource for comprehensive literature study guides, book summaries and literature notes. Litsum offers more free study guides than any other website and several search engines that makes it easy to find what you are looking for.

17. Infoplease - Originally created as a radio show, Infoplease has been providing facts since 1938. The site has encyclopedias, almanacs, dictionaries, thesauri and a slew of other reference materials.

18. Answers.com - With information on more than four million topics, Answers.com is a great resource for anyone who needs answers fast. The site features original articles, as well as information created by renowned reference publishers.

19. Questia - Easily the world's largest online library of books, Questia has 67,000 full-text books, as well as 1.5 million articles. Site users can also take advantage of a virtual dictionary, encyclopedia and thesaurus.

20. Scholarpedia - Scholars around the world contributed to this free encyclopedia. The site looks almost exactly like Wikipedia, but there is a difference between the two: Scholarpedia can be cited in research papers.

21. Intute - This free online service offers an enormous database of reliable resources for students and researchers. Some of the topics in the searchable Intute database include science, technology, arts and humanities, social sciences and health.

22. INFOMINE - Built by librarians, INFOMINE is a scholarly Internet resource collection intended for faculty, students and researchers. Some of the most valuable resources include electronic journals and books, articles, directories of researchers and a variety of databases.

23. Encyclopedia of Life - An ecosystem of websites, the Encyclopedia of Life is an ongoing project attempting to document all species of life on Earth. It is a great resource for science writers and researchers.

24. Online Writing Lab - Purdue University's Online Writing Lab has more than 200 free resources for writers and researchers. Examples include style guidelines, writing instruction, editing tutorials and grammar guidelines.

25. Ely Library Citation Guide - Westfield State College's Ely Library provides summaries and links to information on the most common documentation styles used for research papers. The site is a good place to find citation examples and double-check your work.

Free Web Apps

Time is a precious commodity for college and university students. Fortunately, there are tons of free web apps available to help you organize your projects. Here are 25 dependable web apps guaranteed to boost any student's productivity.

26. OttoBib - This timesaving web app automatically transforms ISBN numbers into bibliographies. Current style options include MLA, Chicago/Turabian, APA and Wikipedia.

27. BibMe - One of the most useful bibliography tools on the web, BibMe is the place to go to create your works cited page. This app lets users search for books, magazines, newspapers, web articles, journals and films and download bibliographies in MLA, APA, Chicago or Turabian formats.

28. EasyBib - Designed to ease the burdensome task of creating bibliographies, EasyBib is a dependable app for students who want to format, alphabetize and print citation lists in MLA-style.

29. Zoho - Zoho has a fantastic collection of productivity and business apps. There are more than 20 offerings in all. Examples include an online word processor (Zoho Writer), online spreadsheets (Zoho Sheet), an online organizer (Zoho Planner), online database applications (Zoho Creator) and an online presentation tool (Zoho Show).

30. Google Docs - This beta tool from Google is great for any student who wants to create or import documents, spreadsheets and other projects. You can access these documents from any computer and share changes in real time.

31. ThinkFree - With ThinkFree, users can create documents online of offline. ThinkFree provides storage and a workspace for either personal or collaborative projects.

32. Backpack It - Named a Top 100 Product by PC World, Backpack is an organizational tool with multiple capabilities. You can organize to-do lists, make announcements, share files and create an Intranet within minutes.

33. Infogami - An easy-to-use website maker, Infogami is great for making basic websites that can be shared with study groups and other people. Special features include customizable templates, a graph maker and a built-in weblog.

34. Diigo - This research tool lets you highlight any text on the web. You can add your own notes and access your saved Diigo work from any PC or iPhone.

35. The Awesome Highlighter - With The Awesome Highlighter, users can highlight text on any web page and receive a link to the highlighted page. This site works well for people who want to share information or reference material at a later date.

36. CL1P.net - This app is the equivalent of an Internet clipboard. You can copy and paste links, text and photos to the site and access them at any time from another computer. Other site features include a message board and rich text editor.

37. Change to Link - With this site, students can paste massive amounts of text into a form and transform it into a link that can be bookmarked or shared with friends. (Note: Transforming copyrighted content into a link is not permitted.)

38. del.icio.us - There are lots of bookmarking tools on the web, but del.icio.us is one of the best. Users can save their favorite sites and see what other people have bookmarked.

39. SyncIt - The original bookmark synchronizer, SyncIt lets users keep bookmarks in sync on different computers and operating systems. Students can keep up to 100 bookmarks synced at one times for free.

40. Netvibes - This alternative to traditional web portals is perfect for students who want to get all of the information they search for on a daily basis on one web page. Some of the things you can assemble on Netvibes include favorite email accounts, blogs, search engines, instant messengers, social networks and podcasts.

41. Notely Designed specifically for students, Notely is another all-in-one tool. Users can take and store notes, create calendars, manage contacts and upload various forms of media. Additional features should be added to the site soon.

42. College Ruled - Strictly for college students, College Ruled is an all-in-one app with class message boards and calendar making abilities. You can also create color-coded schedules and link to them from Facebook profiles.

43. Trackslife - This site lets users track everything from class schedules to finances. Special features include RSS and email reminders.

44. 30 Boxes - Possibly the most convenient online calendar in the world, 30 Boxes is the ultimate solution for students who need to keep track of dates, activities and tasks without a whole lot of fuss.

45. mySchoolog - This educational project lets students organize their school life in 15 different languages. mySchoolog users can chart lessons, create schedules, organize projects and much more.

46. PDF Online - This PDF creator can convert most types of documents into PDF files. Conversions take just a few seconds and finished documents come out perfect every time.

47. Student Loan Calculator - CollegeBoard's Student Loan Calculator is a wonderful tool for students who need to get a handle on student loan repayments. The easy to use calculator has separate sections for various types of loans.

48. Calc Result - This site isn't fancy looking, but it has amazing calculators that can be used to calculate everything from math equations to color gradients. New calculators are constantly being added.

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